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OH prays amid shootings

Annabell Kountz fears for the safety of her two grandchildren.

BY SUSAN KIM | COLUMBUS, Ohio | February 9, 2004

"What else can we do? We try to encourage everybody to do what they're supposed to do and trust in the Lord."

—Rev. Charles Mainous

Annabell Kountz fears for the safety of her two grandchildren who ride school buses on the highway that has been the location of a series of shootings south of Columbus.

Her house is fairly close to the Interstate 270, too, she said.

A van and a Mercedes car were hit minutes apart Sunday, both struck in the hood on the driver's side. These appear to be the latest in a series of 21 shootings since May, although the sheriff's office had not confirmed they were linked.

One person has been hit by a bullet and died. The shootings appear to target vehicles, homes and schools.

"We thought one incident was close to my home but it wasn't," said Kountz.

"I am fearful for the safety of all the children on the buses. How can you protect them? Just having police on the road doesn't protect them," she said.

Kountz operates an ecumenical food pantry in Columbus and said the highway shootings are a citywide concern.

She attends the Hillcrest Baptist Church, where the congregation has prayed for people's safety. "I also entered it into a prayer line on my computer," she said.

The Highlands Presbyterian Church discussed the shootings in Sunday School classes, and the congregation has been praying about the issue as well.

Praying is one way people can feel a little less helpless, explained the Rev. Charles Mainous at High Street Ministries, a Baptist-affiliated church and school.

"It's a tragic thing. We do have people that live in those areas. What else can we do? We try to encourage everybody to do what they're supposed to do and trust in the Lord," he said.

The Bexley United Methodist Church, Briggs Road Baptist Church and the Columbus Church of Christ also reported they were praying for people's safety.

On Monday police reported they had ascertained witness descriptions of a gunman and his vehicle that were the most detailed yet.

A witness reported seeing an apparent gunman on one overpass and a vehicle parked on another when the Sunday shootings occurred. No one was injured Sunday.

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